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Busy Week Ahead Should Bring More Excitement for Dollar Traders

DailyFX Fundamentals 09-09-05

By Kathy Lien, Chief Strategist of www.dailyfx.com

· Busy Week Ahead Should Bring More Excitement for Dollar Traders
· Euro Holds Onto Gains Despite Weak French Data
· Elections the Main Focus for Yen Traders

US Dollar

After a week of recovery, the dollar finally ended the day marginally lower against the euro. In retrospect, the theme of the week has been consolidation. The lack of any significant US economic releases and the subsiding anxiety surrounding Hurricane Katrina has helped the dollar recuperate some of its previous losses. Overall, the dollar remains weaker against the Euro compared to its value at the beginning of last week. Oil futures have also retraced significantly and are now trading around $63.65 a barrel – which has helped to provide support for the dollar. Next week though, trading should be a bit more interesting as we anticipate a barrage of important data. The US will be releasing both producer and consumer prices, retail sales, the trade balance, industrial production, current account balance, the Treasury International Capital flow report as well as the weekly jobless claims report. The reason why this upcoming week’s report will be particularly important is because it is the first labor market report that is expected to see the impact of Hurricane Katrina. Meanwhile there is no doubt at this point that Katrina has boosted global inflation. Today we saw import prices jump 1.3% m/m in August. However if you exclude energy prices, import price growth was flat. We should see a similar situation in CPI and PPI where headline prices shoot higher but core price growth remains muted. Retail sales are expected to take a big dive in the month of August while the trade balance is expected to widen. From an initial glance at market expectations for US data, it looks like pessimism could be the tone for next week. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve gave its first hint that Greenspan may not stay beyond his scheduled retirement date on January 31, 2006. The Fed changed their first monetary policy meeting next year to one day instead of two in order to avoid spanning the terms of two Chairmans. If the fate of the US economy is still as uncertain in January 2006 as it is now, there could be a lot of jitteriness in the markets about whether the next Chairman will have what it takes to turn the economy around. If the market thinks that he doesn’t, it could be a big negative for the dollar. We have yet to hear word about who is expected become the next Fed Chairman but it should not and cannot be too long before he begins actively talking a potential replacement.

Euro

Based upon the past week, it seems as if we may be reverting back to the previous trading environment where we saw the EUR/USD move almost solely based upon US data rather than Eurozone economic data. Signs of strength earlier this week in Germany failed to lift the Euro and today, extremely bad data out of France also failed to cause a dent in the euro. Industrial production fell 0.9% in the month of July while manufacturing production fell 1.2%. The market had actually anticipated another month of strong growth, but instead there was across the board contraction in activity. In fact, this is the sharpest fall in manufacturing production that we have seen in 11 months. All in, France has had a very tough time replicating Germany’s recovery. This begs to question whether the performance in Germany is really indicative of the entire region as a whole. Italy reported a nice pickup in industrial orders but the number tends to be too volatile to be reliable. German elections are coming up and it is becoming increasingly clear that this could be a close vote. The official results of the September 18th election will not be released until at least 2 weeks afterwards. In the week ahead, we also have a busy Eurozone calendar with a number of inflation and consumer spending reports due for release.

British Pound

The British pound edged higher despite a larger than expected trade deficit. The UK trade deficit widened from –GBP4.16 billion to –GBP5.07 billion due to a decline in exports. The Bank of England left interest rates unchanged this week at 4.50%, which has helped the UK hold onto its carry advantage over the dollar and euro for yet another month. Inflation pressures are growing around the world and central banks such as the Bank of England and European Central Bank, who have mandates to maintain stability in both growth and inflation are now becoming more concerned with the inflation component. In the week ahead, the UK will be releasing labor market data, producer and consumer prices as well as retail sales. For the most part, growth is expected to remain steady.

Japanese Yen

The Japanese election for the Lower House is scheduled for Sunday, September 11th. The results of the election will be very important in setting the tone in the Japanese yen for the week ahead. A strong victory for Koizumi’s party is expected to boost the yen but to some, it seems that the market is too optimistic about a big win for the existing Prime Minister. If the LDP does not capture a large lead like they are expected to, we could see an even sharper drop in the Yen due to unbalanced sentiment. Prime Minster Koizumi has said that if the LDP fails to secure a majority of the votes (which would be at least 241 seats) that he would resign. According to the latest polls, there is little likelihood that the coalition will fail to secure the majority, but it is a possibility that they would secure only a small majority, which would basically reduce the Prime Minister’s power, making it still a challenge for him to push through postal privatization reform.

 

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